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Romney picks Paul Ryan as his running mate

world Updated: Aug 12, 2012 01:54 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times
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Presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney on Saturday announced seven-term congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate, a pick widely described as bold.

At 42, Ryan is young - some have said too young - and he is the author of a budget plan to cut spending considered so radical that even Republicans winced.

But the party base loved it, and the rest of the party including his worst critics came around making the plan something of an official Republican answer to President Obama.

Romney announced his pick at a campaign event in Virginia, with the USS Wisconsin (ship named after Ryan's home state Wisconsin), with a gaffe.

"Join me in welcoming the next President of the United States - Paul Ryan," Romney said and bounded off the stage. Wife Ann Romney sent him right back to correct the mistake.

"I am known to make mistakes," Romney started, an arm around his VP nominee, adding, "but I didn't make one on this guy. Please welcome the vice-presidential nominee."

The crowds instantly connected with Ryan, who brought to the campaign a long-needed spontaneity. "We love you," someone from the audience yelled out.

This happens a lot at President Obama's campaign events, but not at Romney's powerpoint-presentation style speeches. And like Obama, Ryan yelled back, "I love you too."

Ryan has a reputation as a policy wonk - economy being his strongest - but has lately shown himself equally adept at foreign policy, earlier said to be a weakness. Ryan's criticism of President Obama was on his economic record. "President Obama is part of the problem," he said.

The seven-term congressman from Wisconsin started out quite young. He won his first term as a member of the House of Representatives in 1998 when he was only 28.

A father of three, Ryan is a committed archer and loves noodling, catch fish by sticking an arm into its mouth and grabbing it around the gill.

The Obama campaign branded the Romney-Ryan ticket as the 'The go back team', a play on 'The comeback team' that the Romney campaign has called itself. The Obama campaign argues that Romney and Ryan stand for all the policies that got the US into its present economic mess.